race for a vaccine

Will We Need Booster Shots to Keep Up COVID-19 Immunity?

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The light at the end of the tunnel has gotten brighter as more and more people get vaccinated against the coronavirus, but how long does that protection last?

It is likely that a booster shot will be needed to continue to protect ourselves against the virus, but many questions remain about how that would work or how often it'll be needed.

"Increased age, the natural waning of antibodies, over time, and new variants all increase the probability that booster doses may be needed," said White House COVID1-9 response team Dr. David Kessler.

Locally, Stanford experts weigh in and agree a booster shot will be needed.

"I do think that at some point, we will lose our immune response and we may need boosters," said Stanford's infectious disease professor, Dr. Yvonne Maldonado. "So they’re getting the public prepared for that."

Dr. Maldonado said the booster shot may be needed annually at the same time as the flu shot. Supply and infrastructure to make that happen shouldn't be an issue, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

"We still need to vaccinate a lot of people with their first doses. We need to get our kids vaccinated," she said.

Another unanswered question is whether the booster shot will need to be from the same maker as the initial shot.

For instance, if you took a double dose of Moderna, can your booster shot be Pfizer? Dr. Maldonado we need more clarity.

"They’re basically very similar platforms, they’re both MRNA vaccines, so it seems logical that you may be able to mix them, but we have to wait for formal federal guidance on that."

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